“If I’m going to go, now is my only chance!”
3 years had passed since Koichi Kobori had become a lawyer. He was working as a visiting lecturer in the Faculty of Law, Chuo University and his career was advancing smoothly. However, Kobori decided to reset his entire career by embarking in 2011 for studying abroad independently at Shanghai Normal University and Tsinghua University (Beijing).
His goals were to increase his Chinese language skill and to train in Chinese law at a law office in China. Still, he was already 31 years old at that time. Surely he felt some uneasiness?
“There were lots of people around me who seemed so intelligent…I felt like no amount of effort would allow me to rival such people,” says Kobori. “I realized that I had to find my own unique strengths in order to heighten my presence. To do so, it is necessary to reach outwards as much as possible and deepen connections with people, thus creating some kind of new value. For me, China was the place to undergo such growth.”
Kobori went to China with high spirits. His daily life in China was even more exciting than he expected.
“When I went to Beijing, I chose to live in an apartment where only Chinese people reside,” recalls Kobori with a smile. “By doing so, I wanted to get a real feel of China. I rented what I had thought was a nice, clean room. However, when I turned on the shower, water came out of the walls. When I flushed the toilet, nothing would happen—but then the washing machine would overflow for some reason. Every time it rained, the walls in the room would peel off. It was really rough. My only choice was to enjoy the experience; otherwise, it would have been too difficult.”
Publish my own book in China!
If the goals of his foreign study after turning 30 years old were only to increase language proficiency and study Chinese law, Kobori would have felt uneasy. So, he set one more goal for himself—to publish his own book.
“When I happened to visit a bookstore during a previous trip to Shanghai, I noticed that although there were many books on foreign study in Europe and America, there was little information on studying abroad in Japan. I felt that the lack of useful books is strange when considering the large number of Chinese students who study abroad in Japan ever year. So I decided to publish a book myself.”
Kobori’s book contained methods for foreign study in Japan, an introduction of scholarships, advice on searching for part-time work, how to study abroad while aiming at what to do after graduating from a university or graduate school, how to search for employment in Japan, and advice on cutting daily expenses. Kobori decided on specific contents by using a questionnaire for Chinese students who were currently studying in Japan or who had returned to China after foreign study in Japan.
Immediately after beginning to write his book, Kobori began to search for a publisher. Initially, he consulted with Japanese acquaintances living in Beijing, but received negative opinions that publishing would be difficult based on such a haphazard plan. However, upon consulting with Chinese acquaintances, there were many people who provided constructive advice such as introducing publishing companies and universities. At this moment, Kobori felt the difference between Japanese people and Chinese people.
“I really like Chinese people as they are passionate and positive-thinking. Of course, my experience in China also made me realize the many good qualities of Japanese people.”
Kobori made proposals to many different publishing companies. However, the Great East Japan Earthquake had just occurred and he was often refused, being told that a guidebook on foreign study in Japan would not sell. Even so, Kobori never gave up. He had his Chinese acquaintance persuade a publishing company which had once refused his plan. Ultimately, he succeeded in publishing his book Let’s Study Abroad in Japan! in China.
Serving as a bridge connecting Japan and China
In 2012, Kobori joined a law office which handles legal matters between Japan and China. After working at the Shanghai office and Hong Kong office of that law office group, Kobori returned to Japan. As a bridge connecting Japan and China, he draws upon his unique strengths to form and expand relationships between the two countries.
“In the future, I want to work by utilizing my strengths, while at the same time discerning what I want to do and what I am capable of doing. I hope to create better relations between Japan and China by developing numerous appealing plans which involve many people.”
Mr. Koichi Kobori
Born in Toyama Prefecture in 1979. Graduated from the Department of Law, the Faculty of Law, Chuo University in 2002. Became a lawyer in 2008. While working at a domestic law office, served as a visiting lecturer in the Faculty of Law, Chuo University (from 2010 to 2011). In 2011, learned Chinese by studying abroad at Shanghai Normal University and Tsinghua University. Completed an internship at Run Ming Law Office (Beijing). From 2012, has participated in the Cast Group.